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Contemplating our development approach

The picture of our future developments is showing from Paro, a rapidly rising urban dzongkhag in Bhutan.

Elsewhere, far away from the capital and the rising urban settlements, life is changing at a dramatic pace.

Bhutan picture of urbanisation is unique, much like everything Bhutanese we see and talk about.

It is sometimes hard to make sense of what is true and what is not. For instance, why is our agriculture shrinking even as we are an agrarian country and our dependence on food imports rising?

In places outside of the dzongkhags that most tourists visit—Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue and Paro—things traditional are becoming more important. These are also the paces that are the most modern, urbanised and growing.

Meanwhile, rural Bhutan is dying due to lack of meaningful urbanism. The painful truth is that rural Bhutan is no longer the real picture of what true Bhutan is. At the same time urban Bhutan is becoming vastly different from what Bhutan portrays itself to be.

What we need to deeply reflect is how we are taking developments to the communities. In places like Trashigang and others, particularly in the east, horses are being released to the wild because they are now more a burden to the households.

We have been working at balanced growth but much of it has been just in theory. How else can we explain this fact where our urban centres can make use of horses for income, increasingly so, while our rural cousins are forced to abandon them?

Tourism is now aiming big and product development is at the centre of it all. Good as these ideas are, nothing much can be had from them all if we fail to take visitors out from the usual sites and deep into where true Bhutan is breathes.

We are having to contend this day with the growing problem of unemployment. If our tourism sector can be a little more farsighted, it has the potential to solve one of the greatest problems facing the nation today. 

And this can also activate the sleeping agriculture by creating many opportunities for jobs.

Because our economy is small and is linked intrinsically, getting one right will have us riding on the promising way.

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